My experience with Dr. Brown’s Sports Hernia surgery
08/18/2020 at 2:30 pm #27832PeterCParticipant
Hi guys. I’m 6 months post-op from a bilateral sports hernia surgery with Dr. Brown and I think it’s important I post this rather than staying silent and defeated. If anything I hope my experience can help someone else avoid what I’m going through. I think too many people get messed up by these surgeons and then suffer in silence out of shame – which only perpetuates the problem.
I came to Dr. Brown about a year ago with bilateral groin pain. I had no obvious hernias. I had a previous surgery on the right side oblique – where the previous surgeon cut into the external oblique fascia, removed a portion of the illioinguinal nerve at the external oblique level and put a soft mesh there – soft mesh that never adhered to my tissues and was literally just there – floating. This was superficial, there was no surgical procedure done to my internal oblique, inguinal floor or transverse abdominis.
Unfortunately, 2 years after that procedure I found myself still having pain and couldn’t function properly mechanically and eventually the left side developped pain as well. I had a feeling it involved my internal oblique and I have pelvic floor symptoms as well as possibly the rectus abdominis but when I brought that up I basically got dismissed and told that it was referred pain.
I had multiple MRIs and ultrasounds that never showed anything. The last imaging tests I had finally showed a 2 cm tear on my left external oblique aponeurosis and a weakness/fat bulging through my inguinal floor on the right side below the mesh but resolving completely when lying down. I thought finally they see something, it seems clear, I’m young, fit, healthy, this should be straight forward.
I made it crystal clear that I did not think the mesh was causing my issue because I still had the same issues than prior to my first surgery. But since the issues got worse after the first surgery – Dr. Brown did say most likely the mesh is causing additional problems.
The plan was therefore to have him go in, take out the mesh that wasn’t doing anything for me and repair what the first surgeon missed. The right side was the side that was the original, main issue, but since the left side had also developped pain and dysfunction and we could see a 2 cm tear in the aponeurosis – I figured I’d get both fixed at once.
Before the surgery, I had pain walking but I could still go for a walk it would just be uncomfortable and eventually get too painful.
Anyways – I had surgery.
The surgery took less time than needed because like I said – the mesh hadn’t adhered to any tissues. He just had to pull it out. He then repaired what he thought was the issue on both sides.
I woke up the next day feeling super tight – obviously – but nothing major.
I flew home a few days later. Any pain I felt during that time I attributed to just having surgery and tried not thinking too much about it.
Fast forward a month later. I realize I have an entire piece of my right abdominal region that doesn’t fire anymore. I cant flex it at all. At first I thought it just needed rehab, but month 2 came by, month 3, and it never changed. It feels like a part of my body isn’t working anymore. All the way up to my ribcage, wrapping around my side and my back. It’s super stiff. I just hit 6 months post-surgery – STILL the exact same. I DID NOT HAVE THIS ISSUE prior to his procedure – even with the mesh and the superficial aspect of the nerve removed. My pain and dysfunction mostly narrowed between the previous scar and the middle of my pubic bone.
Not only that – I still have the exact same pain and weakness I had before the first surgery. I mentioned that it felt like the pain was closer to the bone but he kept saying that its referred pain from the mesh even though I explicitely said I had that issue before the mesh. I still have the exact same dysfunction but worse, and on top of that now I have an entire section of my abdominal wall (literally the entire right side) not firing. It refuses. It wraps around my side and to my back. I did not have this issue before his surgery.
The left side – which was supposed to be straight forward only showing a 2 CM tear in the EXTERNAL oblique aponeurosis – is 100x worse than before. I got the surgical report only to see that he cut into the external, internal, transverse abdominis, reconstructed my entire inguinal canal – despite not having ANY herniation showing anywhere.
Now on top of the muscular dysfunction I have on both sides, I now have permanent discomfort and pain in both my testicles. It feels like I have 2 spermatic cords or an extra big one on each side, like its stuck, like its not where its supposed to be. It doesn’t glide when I move or walk, its just in the way. Not where its supposed to be. I had no testicular pain or discomfort on the left side and only mild tightness on the right side before his operation. His procedure changes the configuration of your inguinal canal and leaves the spermatic cord in a different place. Again this isn’t nerve pain, this is mechanical, in the way, tissues that aren’t where they are meant to be.
What I’m trying to say is. I didn’t think it could get worse. I understand sometimes things aren’t 100% successful. But if I had known it would feel this much worse I would’ve found another alternative or someone else. This isn’t acceptable. It’s one thing to not fix my issue because you didn’t diagnose or operate the right area. Everyone makes mistakes.
But to be this messed up 6 months after your operation – on a healthy body – there’s something awfully wrong.
It is not a nerve issue – I’ve had nerve pain before I know how it feels. It is not residual pain from a mesh that never adhered to my tissues and came out as clean as it went in. Its literally someone that cut into my body, patched it completely differently – and left things in a different place.
I went into surgery hoping that whatever torn tissues in there would be corrected so that they can heal back to their normal functioning. I came out patched up like a Mr. Potato toy with far more dysfunction that when I went in.
Despite my best efforts – I can’t seem to rehab out of this. I’ve lost all trust I had in these doctors and their ”procedures”. I don’t even know who I could see to undo what was done to me now that my abdominal walls are all patched up in a different configuration than they are supposed to be and I can’t trust that It won’t once again feel even worse. I watched my 70 years old parents go for hikes and bike rides the entire summer while I can’t even walk around the block. I’m young, healthy, mostly plant-based, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I’m skinny. I have no counter indications that would exacerbate my condition or make this hard. I sadly contemplate suicide now as well.
** As a disclaimer, when I first got injured before any surgery, I had no pain on ejaculation, I could flex my lower abs, and I only had pain on the right side when urinating. Fast forward to now – It hurts when I walk, it hurts when I urinate, it hurts when I ejaculate. I have no foreign bodies in me and Im in more pain and more dysfunction than I’ve ever been in.
I’m writing this not to shame or attack Dr. Brown. Unlike the other doctors, he will actually talk to you for free instead of charging you 750$ USD to even be considered for advice and I think he means well. I’m writing this to warn others that may have a sports hernia and are considering surgery. This is serious and EVERYTHING has to be evaluated before you go into surgery. Your pelvic floor, your rectus, your tendons, everything. DO NOT LET THEM BE SLOPPY in your diagnostic. If it feels off or like they’re rushing you – run away and find someone else. This is a life-altering decision. You will either come out of it well or disabled for life.
If you guys need help or feedback choosing a doctor – there’s a facebook group called Sports Hernia Awareness where over 900 people talk about their experiences with most of these surgeons. What I have come to learn is that what I actually have is a core muscle injury probably involving the pelvic floor – Dr. Meyers does this apparently but like I said I dont think my body can take any more surgery at this point – and what Dr. Brown does is ALWAYS a reconstruction of the inguinal canal and its variants.
If you have a generic hernia and need a procedure without mesh – I still think Dr. Brown is your man. But if you’re an athlete and you have an actual sports hernia/athletic pubalgia – I’d look somewhere else. This isn’t worth it. The risk isn’t worth it. Good luck everyone.
TL;DR – If you don’t want to read the wall of text – here’s a summary. I got injured on one side, had unsuccessful surgery, got injured on the left side as well, had surgery with Dr.Brown – neither side is fixed and I have 10 times more issues after his procedure.
08/18/2020 at 5:06 pm #27835ajm222Participant
This sounds like a nightmare. What does Dr. Brown say about your condition, and has he suggested any remedy?
08/20/2020 at 5:33 am #27843MarkParticipant
Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry your going through this. I’m looking for a pure tissue surgeon for my first time bilateral inguinal hernia surgery and ABSOLUTELY PETRIFIED of getting the surgery because of your example. Yes it sucks having lumps of hernia sticking out of my groin but my pain is minimal and I’m considering not getting the surgery until the last possible time…to avoid this from happening. I don’t want to look back saying I was way better off before the surgery. It just stinks that I can’t workout hard, hike or bike long distance anymore because I don’t want to aggravate my condition further and those 3 activities were my passion. It is devistating depressing not doing them but depressing as I can’t find any hernia surgeon trustworthy as of yet.
08/20/2020 at 9:24 am #27845AlephyParticipant
I have heard from many doctors (also here) that one can exercise (in fact should exercise) with an hernia…I do martial arts and while I have not started rolling yet I still train by myself. The moment I physically cannot any more (e.g. because of pain) surgery would be most definitely on the table, but only then….
08/22/2020 at 1:23 pm #27866
I am very sorry to hear this. I can relate — look up my post here “living a nightmare” — I had a desarda. It sounds like he did a desarda on your left side, is that correct?
It puts things where they flat out don’t belong. It’s in my opinion, after learning more about it too late, an insane procedure. From what you say, if he did that, I am shocked.
08/24/2020 at 10:35 am #27880MikeParticipant
I hope you get better and appreciate you sharing your experience.
The $750 consultation was something I discovered after searching for a provider mentioned in this forum, as well. Is the forum a source of information, revenue or both?
My concerns and pre-existing conditions have been dismissed by a general surgeon and two hernia specialists.
It is next to impossible to fine a hernia specialist that doesn’t have some bad reviews or litigation. Plus, the reliance on surgery centers (that they have an ownership interest in) makes it hard to be optimistic.
Thank you for referencing other sources of information, patients need real information to be their own advocates.
08/26/2020 at 1:36 pm #27888
08/26/2020 at 2:17 pm #27891
“I sadly contemplate suicide now as well”
Please, see someone asap to help with this. I understand some of what you are going though, was suicidal as well, mine are not empty words. You are needed and if you are saying this now you need and deserve help now.
I had a desarda in FL for a very small indirect hernia that should have been left alone also, that moves things into unnatural positions, failed quickly, was cavalierly and without basis guaranteed it hadn’t when it clearly had (now I know how incredibly clear it was that it had failed), then while floundering a very large incisional developed.
I saw Dr Grischkan after finally searching and searching and seeing various specialists. I am not going to speculate on if he can help you — but I had testicular issue as you describe as well, he explained why desardas are destructive procedures, why they can go wrong — and that he could help me. NO one else said they could help or even had a clue as to what was going on. Except him. Maybe you didn’t have a desarda on your left side, but it sounds like it.
Regardless if you did or not — I wanted you specifically to know he helped me when I thought no one could and had similar symptoms as what you have. Even the Cleveland Clinic wasn’t able to help me. PM me if you want any info please.
And please, call or speak to someone about what you mentioned you are contemplating.
08/26/2020 at 2:37 pm #27892ajm222Participant
Casimir – did you get any resolution to your issue?
08/26/2020 at 3:48 pm #27893MarkParticipant
I think many I not mist all hernia surgeons have a real disconnect of how and what these procedures mean to us. Granted they could take an extra minute to pause and give advice or opinions and answers when we ask questions. If we care enough to do the research to ask questions then do what is moral and guide us to make the best informed decision possible. I’ve consulted or reaching out directly to over 1 dozen of the most reputable tissue surgeons in the USA and not one didn’t get irritated when I asked a non easy question. Not one pointed me in the right direction rather they say to set up an online consult so they can make an easy dollar and still not give any useful advice. Same thing…you don’t know if you have an indirect or direct hernia and no way to test just come in let me cut you open and find out. If I ran a transmission shop and someone needed an oil change I know a shop that would do better for oil changes but I’m going to tell them I can do it so I get the business. Not right.
08/26/2020 at 4:44 pm #27894
@ajm222 Thanks, I am better than I was before Dr Grischkan. Sometimes I even briefly feel “normal” but not often. And sometimes it’s very frustrating. Usually somewhere in the middle. I try not to think about it.
IMHO… What there should be is a federal standardized consent form that describes the risks (they are known), says the surgeon explained x and y risks to me, explained alternative treatments to me, and the risks of not opting for surgery at all to me, and both the doc and patient sign and date it and the patient keeps a copy.
I’d like to push for legislation requiring that. People often do get more info when they take their car in for a repair. I think there are far too many people that don’t understand the risks and pay dearly — they just do not know what they do not know. Then the doc might be burnt out, maybe had a “bad day”, are poor communicators, misunderstood the patients level of comfort, just didn’t care to explain, maybe wants as much business as possible, or whatever — they are human too and like anything there are lots of good and some not so good — and the patient pays. And that shouldn’t stand when there’s something that could make such a difference and takes 5 to 10 minutes, and can go home with you.
09/16/2020 at 6:04 pm #27966OslerParticipant
Sounds like you had a too tight of a repair with what sounds like an attempted shouldice with further nerve and soft tissue damage. I hope you find some relief and get better even if it takes several years, don’t give up.
09/24/2020 at 7:02 pm #27987drtowfighKeymaster
Sorry to hear about everyone’s pain after tissue repairs. It just goes to show that non-mesh tissue repairs also can result in chronic pain. And all surgery has its set of complications. It’s one reason why we recommend watchful waiting until the risks of surgery are outweighed by its benefits.
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